Planting Instructions for a Peony Tree


Tree peonies (paeonia suffruiticosa) are shrubs with both Chinese and Japanese cultivars. They have large pink, red and yellow flowers, with beautiful names like Green Dragon Lying and Godaishu. Tree peonies are slow growing, taking years to get up to 5 feet, but they can live for hundreds of years. Tree peonies do well in hardiness zones 4 through 9, and they should be planted in an area with well-drained soil.that is partially shielded from strong winds. They also enjoy plenty of sunshine and acidic soil (above 6.0 pH). You should plant tree peonies 4 to 5 feet apart.

Step 1

Dig a whole deeper and wider than 2 feet, depending on the size of the root stock. Ideally, the point at which the rootstock and the stem meet should be at least 5 inches underground. Fill in the bottom foot of the whole with loam soil mixed with 1-1/2 cups of bone meal.

Step 2

Place the tree peony root system in the hole. Make sure that the root sprouts are turned up. Fill the rest of the hole with top soil, being sure to cover all of the roots.

Step 3

Water the tree peony so that the soil is very damp, but not standing in water. It is best to water tree peonies deeply during the dry months rather than adding shallow amounts of water more often. Add mulch before the ground freezes to protect the young tree. Straw and sawdust are good choices to mound up. Remove the mulch when spring arrives.

Step 4

Fertilize after three years. Tree peonies don't need to be fertilized sooner as long as the soil retains a pH level above 6.0. If you are uncertain, test a soil sample to make sure the nutrients have not been washed away by rain or overwatering. If the pH is under 6.0, add the proper nutrients to raise the level to over 6.0.

Tips and Warnings

  • Follow safety instructions carefully when using a fungicide. During winter preparation, never cut your tree peony to the ground unless it is diseased. This step only applies to herbaceous peonies.

Things You'll Need

  • Tree peony
  • Shovel
  • Top soil
  • Bone meal
  • Water
  • Fertilizer
  • Fungicide


  • Cornell Cooperative Extension: The Culture of Herbaceous and Tree Peonies
  • Minnesota Peony Society: Growing Tree Peonies in Minnesota

Who Can Help

  • Cricket Hill Garden: Tree Peony
Keywords: plant tree peony, tree peony instructions, grow peony tree

About this Author

Yvonne Ward began her professional writing career in 2004 with the publication of "Pickin' Cotton Sure Is Hard Work" in the book "Golden Short Stories Volume 1" for the Dahlonega Book Festival. She has since written a true crime book published in 2010, with contracts for two more. Ward is pursuing a Master of Arts in history and culture from Union Institute and University.